I have been wanting to write this post for months. Literally, months.
I was at one of my favorite gyms a few months ago partaking in a Training For Warriors program when I heard a woman on the treadmill speaking with her trainer. Her trainer was discussing cutting out unnecessary sugars and she said “all the juice I drink says no added sugar” He said, “right, but you’re drinking four cups a day and there is still a lot of sugar in what you’re drinking”. She looked at him like he had ten heads and said, as though she was explaining it to a two year old, “But it had no added sugars.” I was walking away at that point, but I could tell that the conversation was no where near over.
I feel like there is a big myth and a huge question when it comes to this topic because no added sugar gives people this unhealthy reliance on juices and other foods that make you think that you are having a healthy and acceptable amount of sugar, when that is not at all the case. In some cases people are even seeing it as there is no sugar in what they are drinking or eating solely because it says no sugar is added. Natural sugars are great, but like anything else, an excess of them is not great. When you’re drinking your sugars in an apple juice say instead of eating an apple, you are also taking away plenty of the fruits nutrients that are in the pulp and skin of the fruit which gets extracted when you juice them.
So, what does “no added sugar” actually mean? Again, it does not mean that there is no sugar in it. It only means that they have not added any additional sugar to the product you are consuming. So there is no processed sugar or sucrose added. It doesn’t mean that there are no sugar substitutes and it does not mean that what you are eating or drinking doesn’t already have natural sugar in it. Juice to milk to jam, it all has natural sugars. So, don’t let the sign fool you. If you are trying to cut down on your sugars, try drinking less juice or soda first and foremost (or the sugary food you’re consuming), but if you’re drinking a few cups of OJ a day, take it down to one cup.
The main thing is, don’t get distracted by the food label – whether it says no sugar added, raw sugar or whatever, ignore it and check the amount of sugar on the label. Period.